Hot cross cinnamon swirls

Makes: 12

You will need a deep brownie or baking tin.


For the dough

  • 2 sachets of instant dried yeast (14g)
  • 250ml full fat milk, just warm (too hot and it will kill the yeast)
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp of orange zest
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg beaten in a cup

For the filling

  • 80g soft British butter
  • 1 tsp of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 40g soft light brown sugar
  • 40g dark brown sugar
  • 80g sultanas
  • 1 egg, beaten (to brush on top)

For the icing:

  • 200g icing sugar
  • A little orange juice to mix to a smooth, glossy icing


  1. Gently warm the milk and check it’s not too hot. It should be just warm; if it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast on top and mix in with a fork. Leave for about 10 minutes.
  2. Weigh the dry ingredients and add the grated orange zest. Put them into a large bowl or into the mixer bowl.
  3. Melt the butter and put to one side to cool a little.
  4. Crush the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar then remove the green husks (I keep these to infuse warm milk and to make into hot chocolate); add to the flour.
  5. Stir together the dry ingredients, add the yeast and the warm milk and then knead with a dough hook or mix together.
  6. Add the melted butter and beaten egg and knead until smooth and springy and it leaves
  7. the sides of the bowl clean. This will take about 6-8 minutes in a mixer and 10 minutes if kneading by hand.
  8. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to rise until it has doubled in size.
  9. While it’s rising, put all the ingredients for the filling, except the sultanas, into a bowl and beat well until you have a smooth paste.
  10. Once the dough has risen, tip it onto the worktop. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about 1cm in thickness. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect rectangle.
  11. Spread the filling across the top of the dough and scatter on the sultanas.
  12. Roll the dough from the long side up, like a swiss roll.
  13. Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 pieces.
  14. Line a baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Place the circles of dough in the lined tin.
  15. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel.
  16. Leave to prove at room temperature for an hour or so. Or if you are making to eat the next day, pop them into the fridge at this point. They will happily sit in the fridge for a couple of days. Take them out and bring them to room temperature before baking them.
  17. Brush with the beaten egg before putting them into the preheated oven to bake on a middle shelf.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees, or until golden brown and smelling amazing.
  19. While they are in the oven, make the icing. Simply mix together all the ingredients. Leave the buns to cool before swirling the icing on top, or making Easter crosses.
  20. The buns are also delicious without icing – simply take them out of the oven and drizzle over honey or syrup.

Miranda is a food writer, home-baking expert and finalist on the first series of The Great British Bake Off.

Follow her on Twitter @MirandaBakes, on Facebook, and on Instagram

Related categories: Cakes and bakes Recipes

Last edited: 09 March 2020 at 12:01

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